Red Bull MY marketer Edmund Lee on using data to crystallise the future

With the continuous introduction of new marketing channels, brands today find themselves crowded with many options to reach and interact with their target audience. However, the future of marketing isn’t so much about the radical new ways and mediums to reach or engage consumers. It lies in a simple golden rule – using data analytics to get the fundamentals of marketing right.

Data-driven marketing has transformed from an innovative approach to the fundamentals of a successful marketing strategy. Marketers are increasingly investing in research and diving into huge amount of data to draw conclusions. So how do you use data to crystallise the future?

1. The reality of data: When looking at data and its insights, brands must confront the numbers and acknowledge their issues and position in the market. Quite often, there will be a sense of denial and even disbelief when data shows us something that’s counter-intuitive. Acknowledging the issues and market position will enable brands to start the first steps in organising, analysing and applying learnings from data analytics to make better marketing decisions.

2. Analyse and develop strategies: One of the must-do’s when implementing data in decision-making is to triangulate all the gathered information. The aim is to have a holistic picture taking into account key factors to help us make better commercial decisions. For example, data gathered identified 90% of Red Bull consumption volume was generated from just four core occasions.

However, when triangulated with financial data, it was found that marketing investments in the largest volume occasion was the second lowest. This posed an opportunity for us to restrategise our focus and build stronger plans with the right marketing investments.

More often than not, brands are too carried away with short-term marketing tactics. Before pooling out investments into the activities, it’s crucial to understand the size of the prize. Sometimes, we happen to be a big fish in a small pond – it is only when we utilise data and insights collected that we are able to locate new opportunities (other ponds) around us and navigate us to those ponds to give us the best ROI.

3. Analytics credibility: If you work with data regularly, chances are you trust it. Your understanding of how it’s collected, stored, analysed and presented allows you to relate to those statistics. But when you bring the same findings to those who don’t, they are often less comfortable with your conclusion. Even so, it is important we treat data as a conversation starter, not a diagnosis. Data-driven recommendations could come across as an allegation of poor work, especially if the result challenges the decisions made previously.

Ironically, this is where most trust in data is required. Hence, it is important marketers are able to build relevance with the team using data and implore stronger trust in those figures when building consensus.

4. Results-driven outcomes: Guided by analytics generated from data, teams have the freedom to quickly act, review and respond to the results. While results may not always be positive, that’s where the learning comes – both good and bad. The important part is to feed data into models and support an iterative process which drives business decisions and outcomes to be more precise each time.

In a data-drive culture, the possibilities are endless. In a time where there is so much more clutter with so many new mediums and platforms, the simple application of data and strong analytics to drive our fundamentals right becomes much more significant. It keeps companies grounded and in touch with true reality. The future is data and analytics, and it is driving business outcomes from the boardroom to the selling floor – and everywhere in between.

The writer is Edmund Lee, head of marketing, Red Bull Malaysia. The article first appeared in A+M’s The Futurist print edition.